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Love Island star Georgia Steel subjected to ‘vile threats’ online | Ents & Arts News

Love Island: All Stars contestant Georgia Steel has been subjected to “vile threats” and “hate” on social media in recent days, according to a statement shared on her official Instagram.

In the current series, located in South Africa and featuring stars from the previous 10 seasons, the 25-year-old has appeared to be confused over her feelings for three fellow islanders – Toby Aromolaran, Callum Jones, and Tom Clare.

In a recent episode of the ITV2 show, several clips were shown to the entire villa, including footage of Steel’s conversations with the three men. Over the past few days, there has been criticism directed at the influencer online.

Love Island is hosted by Maya Jama. Pic: ITV
Image:
Love Island is hosted by Maya Jama. Pic: ITV

Following the backlash, Love Island viewers have been reminded that the show is “not real life”.

“The last few episodes have been difficult for us to watch, but what’s far worse is the hate Georgia is receiving online,” a statement posted to her 1.6m followers on Instagram said.

“It is a TV show and everyone has their opinions, please remember it’s not real life!”

‘Georgia is a daughter, granddaughter, sister and friend’

The statement went on to say that “hurtful” comments are having an impact on Steel’s loved ones as well as the star herself.

“Sending vile threats and nasty messages and comments is totally unacceptable,” it said. “Trolling is not OK.

“Georgia is a daughter, granddaughter, sister and friend, and these hurtful comments will not only devastate her when she leaves the villa but also deeply hurt those around her.”

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The statement also thanked those who have sent supportive messages and shown kindness, adding: “We see you and we thank you.”

A second post simply read: “There is power in kindness.”

Steel originally appeared in series four of the reality show, which was won by Dani Dyer and Jack Fincham.

Why has the social media ban been lifted?

This is not the first time Love Island viewers have been urged to think about their comments before posting online.

In 2021, the family of contestant Chloe Burrows revealed she had received “vile” abuse and death threats after just three days in the villa, and urged viewers to “be kind”.

Later that year, another former contestant, Amy Hart, addressed the realities of the online abuse she has suffered following her time on the show at an inquiry by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

Last year, producers revealed a ban on social media for contestants while in the villa, to shield them from potential abuse as part of updated duty of care procedures. This meant that family members or friends could not keep their accounts updated on their behalf during their time on the show.

However, the ban has been lifted for this series. According to a show insider, it was felt this season’s islanders would be able to handle the potential negative aspects of social media as they have already experienced life in the spotlight and have management advising them.

An ITV spokesperson said: “We would always urge our viewers to be kind when engaging in social media conversations about our islanders, and to remember that they are real people with feelings.”

British Steel cuts 7% of workforce despite government funding talks | Business News

British Steel has revealed it is to cut 260 jobs, almost 7% of its workforce, despite continuing government funding talks with its Chinese owners.

It was announced that the losses would be felt at its Scunthorpe plant through the closure of its coking ovens – used to turn coal into the high-temperature product needed to service its blast furnaces.

The Unite union responded by saying it would look to defend every job and did not rule out the prospect of industrial action.

The move was revealed after Sky News reported that officials from the Department for Business and Trade were due in China to meet executives from Jingye Group amid protracted talks about a £300m grant.

Sources said the talks were expected to focus on the value of an energy subsidy package, which could take the overall value of government support for British Steel to approximately £1bn.

The prospect of additional taxpayers’ cash had been dependent on job guarantees.

Sky’s City editor Mark Kleinman reported last month that Jingye was drawing up plans to cut around 800 jobs at British Steel.

The company placed no timeframe on its proposals but said it had entered talks with unions.

It placed an emphasis on cutting its environmental impact and energy bills.

The Scunthorpe steel plant
Image:
The Scunthorpe British Steel plant

The company said its costs, on both fronts, rose by a combined £190m last year.

It declared in a statement that “decisive action is required because of the unprecedented rise in operating costs, surging inflation and the need to improve environmental performance.”

British Steel chief executive Xifeng Han said: “Steel is vital to modern economies and with demand expected to grow over the coming decades, British Steel has a crucial role to play in ensuring the UK has its own supply of high-quality steel.

“To make sure we can deliver the steel Britain requires, we’re undergoing the biggest transformation in our 130-year history.”

He added: “We have taken action to reduce costs within our control; however, steelmaking in the UK remains uncompetitive when compared to other international steelmakers.

“Our energy costs, carbon costs and labour costs are some of the highest across the world, which are factors that we cannot influence directly.

“For the reasons outlined, we entered into talks with the UK government in summer 2022 and are extremely grateful for its support.

“It’s important we have the correct policies and frameworks in place to back our drive to become a clean, green and successful company and we’re continuing to discuss this with the government.”

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Unite general secretary Sharon Graham responded: “British Steel workers are faced with the toxic combination of a greedy employer that is reneging on investment promises and a shambolic UK government that has no serious plan for the industry.

“Unite’s members in British Steel are clear that they will fight this and they will have the full support of their union.

Unite national officer Linda McCulloch said: “This union has not yet seen any financial justification for the closure of the coking ovens. British Steel needs to come clean and open its book in order to try to justify its decisions.

“Unite will pursue every avenue, including industrial action, to defend members’ jobs at British Steel.”

Government officials fly to China to win support for British Steel bailout | Business News

Government officials will this week fly to China in an effort to convince the owner of British Steel to finalise plans for a state funding package amid hundreds of job cuts at the company.

Sky News has learnt that civil servants from the Department for Business and Trade are travelling to meet executives from Jingye Group amid protracted talks about a £300m grant to the Scunthorpe-based company.

Sources said the talks were expected to focus on the value of an energy subsidy package, which could take the overall value of government support for British Steel to approximately £1bn.

It comes just days after Kemi Badenoch, the new business and trade secretary, told Sky News’ economics and data editor, Ed Conway, that “nothing is ever a given” when asked whether Britain needed a steel industry.

A government spokesperson said: “The government recognises the vital role that steel plays within the UK economy, supporting local jobs and economic growth and is committed to securing a decarbonised, sustainable and competitive future for the UK steel sector.

“Government officials are engaging with Jingye regularly as part of the ongoing discussions with the company and our routine work with businesses across the steel sector.

“The Business and Trade Secretary considers the success of the steel sector a priority and continues to work closely with industry to achieve this.”

Sky News revealed last month that Jingye was drawing up plans to cut around 800 jobs at British Steel, with the BBC reporting on Tuesday night that 300 redundancies would be announced this week arising from the closure of coking ovens at the Scunthorpe plant.

Mrs Badenoch’s predecessor, Grant Shapps, told Jingye last month that proposals to make hundreds of workers redundant were “unhelpful” amid negotiations over a £300m taxpayer support package.

British Steel confirmed recently that it was “reluctantly having to consider cost-cutting” but did not specify the number of jobs that were at risk.

Nusrat Ghani, the business minister, had told MPs that talks between the government and British Steel were ongoing, even though the conditions attached to the taxpayer aid include a six-month moratorium on redundancies and a guarantee to preserve an unspecified proportion of the company’s workforce for the next decade.

Jingye said in January that steelmaking in Britain was “uncompetitive” in an international context.

“Unfortunately, like many other businesses we are reluctantly having to consider cost cutting in light of the global recession and increased costs,” the company said.

Sky News revealed last month that British Steel and larger rival Tata Steel would be required to guarantee thousands of jobs until 2033 in return for £600m of government support to help decarbonise the industry.

Any taxpayer funding is to be linked to the replacement of blast furnaces at the company’s sites with greener electric arc furnaces, while Jingye would be obliged to invest at least £1bn in the business by 2030.

A decision to grant the state aid would not be without controversy, given British Steel’s Chinese ownership and doubts about its adherence to financial commitments made when it bought the business out of insolvency proceedings in 2020.

In a letter to Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor, in December, Mr Shapps and Michael Gove, the levelling-up secretary, warned that British Steel’s demise could cost the government up to £1bn in decommissioning and other liabilities.

They cautioned Mr Hunt that British Steel “does not have a viable business without government support”.

“Closing one blast furnace would be a stepping-stone to closure of the second blast furnace, resulting in a highly unstable business model dependent on Chinese steel imports,” Mr Shapps and Mr Gove wrote.

“Given the magnitude of the liabilities due to fall on HMG in the event of blast furnace closure, and following the PM’s steer, we would like officials to test whether net Government support in the region of £300m for British Steel could prevent closure, protect jobs and create a cleaner viable long-term future for steel production in the United Kingdom.”

British Steel employs about 4,000 people, with thousands more jobs in its supply chain dependent upon the company.

Tata Steel employs substantially more people in the UK, including more than 4,000 at its Port Talbot steelworks in Wales.

According to the ministers’ letter, British Steel had already informed the government that it could close one of the Scunthorpe blast furnaces as soon as next month, with the loss of 1,700 jobs.

This would be “followed by the second blast furnace closing later in 2023, creating cumulative direct job losses of around 3,000”, Mr Shapps and Mr Gove wrote.

In May 2019, the Official Receiver was appointed to take control of the company after negotiations over an emergency £30m government loan fell apart.

British Steel had been formed in 2016 when India’s Tata Steel sold the business for £1 to Greybull Capital, an investment firm.

As part of the deal that secured ownership of British Steel for Jingye, the Chinese group said it would invest £1.2bn in modernising the business during the following decade.

Jingye’s purchase of the company, which completed in the spring of 2020, was hailed by Boris Johnson, the then prime minister, as assuring the future of steel production in Britain’s industrial heartlands.

Liberty Steel blames ‘unviable’ market as restructuring threatens hundreds of jobs | Business News

Liberty Steel UK has placed 440 jobs under threat through a series of actions to secure its future amid “unviable” market conditions.

The company said high energy costs had combined with other uncompetitive factors such as cheap imports and it was vital its operations were “refocused”.

Liberty, part of Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance, said its Newport and West Bromwich plants would be made idle under the changes.

They would also include operations at Rotherham being shifted towards premium products.

Liberty, which has been battling financing headwinds since the collapse of its biggest lender Greensill Capital in 2021, said the next phase of its restructuring programme would see workers affected offered an alternative to redundancy.

The proposed scheme aims to retain, redeploy and reskill affected employees and guarantees salary and outplacement opportunities.

Liberty said they could be redeployed within the business, on previous employment terms, when market conditions allowed.

‘Unviable market’

Its statement said: “Despite the injection of £200m of shareholder capital over the last two years, the production of some commodity grade products at Rotherham and downstream mills has become unviable in the short term due to high energy costs and imports from countries without the same environmental standards.

“Primary production through Rotherham’s lower carbon electric arc furnaces (EAFs) will be temporarily reduced while uncompetitive operating conditions prevail.”

The company said the measures would forge a “viable way forward” for the business and help safeguard jobs among its wider workforce of 1,900 permanent employees, rising up to 5,000 when contractors are included.

It made the announcement despite the promise of extra financial help for energy intensive industries, including steel, through a new discount scheme for businesses.

Sanjeev Gupta, boss of Liberty Steel, speaks to Sky News 1/4/21
Image:
Sanjeev Gupta

Jeffrey Kabel, chief transformation officer for Liberty Steel Group, said: “Refocusing our operations will set the right platform for Liberty Steel UK’s high-quality manufacturing businesses to adapt quickly to challenging market realities.”

He added: “Liberty’s shareholder Sanjeev Gupta has supported the business through a very difficult period and remains committed to the workforce here in the UK and ensuring our lower carbon operations help deliver a sustainable, decarbonised UK steel industry.”

‘Change in plans is devastating’

Alun Davies, national officer of steelworkers union Community, responded: “Since the collapse of Greensill Capital, the trade unions have supported the company because we believed that delivering the company’s business plans, which were audited and backed by the unions’ independent experts, was the best route to safeguard jobs and the future of all the businesses.

“However, the plans we reviewed were based on substantial investment and ramping up production, including at Liberty Steel Newport, and did not include the ‘idling’ of any sites.

“These are challenging times for all steelmakers but the company’s decision to change their plans, on which we based our support, and announce a strategy seemingly based on capacity cuts and redundancies is devastating.”

The government pledged continued support for the sector in its response, but Gareth Stace, head of industry body UK Steel, said: “High energy prices have played an important role in the decisions announced today, with long-standing uncompetitive electricity prices having constrained UK investment and steel production for some time.

“This highlights again the need for government to fully address the UK’s structurally high industrial energy prices, looking beyond the important announcements made regarding the energy bills discount scheme earlier this week.

“It is crucial we also now see the development of a long-term decarbonisation plan for the sector, ultimately ensuring that the UK can be seen as an attractive place to invest in steel production.”

Downing Street said reports of potential job losses at the firm were “concerning” but that ministers would continue to offer “extensive support” to the sector.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “Obviously it will be concerning for workers at Liberty Steel. We are committed to ensuring a sustainable future for the UK steel sector. We want to work closely with the industry to achieve this.”